Michael J Casey is a senior advisor with the Digital Currency Initiative at MIT Media Lab. There, his team is working on blockchain-based solutions for everything from financial inclusion and welfare payments to voting and identity.
Casey was formerly a journalist with The Wall Street Journal, and is the author of “The Age of Cryptocurrency”, which he co-authored with journalist Paul Vigna.
Outsiders are understandably baffled by the bitcoin community’s civil war.
The long-running dispute among the cryptocurrency’s top software developers hinges on a seemingly arcane issue: whether or not to increase the 1MB limit for each block of transactions in bitcoin’s blockchain ledger.
How could such a trifling software fix cause so much angst?
But while bitcoin’s critics flag the impasse as proof the digital currency isn’t ready for primetime, I’d suggest an alternative perspective: It represents all that makes this open-source project fascinating. It’s a reminder of how big and bold the bitcoin experiment is, and of why social scientists should be studying it.
At MIT’s Digital Currency Initiative we see digital currencies as a goldmine for scholars – especially economists. If they can focus less on bitcoin the currency – and the dismissive